Mariners Insider

Hart’s two homers lift Mariners to 5-3 victory over Angels

Post by Bob Dutton / The News Tribune on April 8, 2014 at 11:24 pm with 9 Comments »
April 9, 2014 8:39 am

That other guy the Mariners signed in the off-season to boost their attack put down a big-time marker Tuesday night in 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

Corey Hart clocked two no-doubt homers that helped the Mariners to a successful home opener on a night when Robinson Cano had only a walk to show for four plate appearances and James Paxton exited with an injury.

“So many guys on this team have been chipping in,” Hart said, “and I haven’t been one of them. So it was nice to find that contact tonight and be able to help out.”

Paxton, 2-0, suffered a strained back muscle that forced him from the game in the sixth inning but got the victory when a four-reliever relay combined for four scoreless innings.

“I just felt a little tweak,” said Paxton, who is scheduled to undergo a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam on Wednesday.

“I want to be careful with it. It’s just a little lat strain…It feels fine just standing here (after the game), but we’ll find out (Wednesday) exactly what’s going on.”

Hart’s first homer was a three-run shot in a four-run fourth against Angels starter Hector Santiago and turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead.

“Last week in California,” LA manager Mike Scioscia said, “they were hot with two out and guys in scoring position. They carried it through to that inning.”

It was still 4-3 when Hart went deep with a two-out solo shot in the seventh against Fernando Salas. It was Hart’s 15th career multi-homer game.

Paxton’s night started poorly and ended with an injury — a strained lat (back) muscle. In-between, he was dominant…retiring 14 in a row after yielding three runs in the first inning on back-to-back homers.

The Mariners characterized Paxton’s injury as a “slight” strain pending the MRI results.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big deal,” he said. “It’s not like it’s a real pain. It’s just a little soreness.”

Yoervis Medina, Danny Farquhar, Tom Wilhelmsen and Fernando Rodney stifled the Angels after Paxton departed. Rodney worked around two walks to start the ninth inning for his second save.

“He’s been that way throughout his career,” manager Lloyd McClendon said. “One thing you know about him, though, is he’s been through the fires. He knows what’s going on. He’s not going to be rattled in any way.”

Paxton’s tough first inning started with a one-out single by Mike Trout. And then…Albert Pujols crushed a 1-0 fastball to left for a two-run homer. Two pitches later, David Freese rocked an 0-1 change-up to center.

And it was 3-0.

“I was a little excited with what’s going on here,” Paxton said. “I just left some pitches up. When you make mistakes to hitters that good, they’re going to make it hurt. Then I calmed myself.”

The Mariners got it all back and more in the third inning by cashing a mistake — Brad Miller reached on a two-out swinging third strike when the ball got away from catcher Chris Iannetta for a wild pitch.

Santiago seemed to pitch around Cano in a four-pitch walk, but Justin Smoak spoiled the strategy with a hard grounder up the middle for an RBI single.

Hart then fell into an 0-2 hole before driving a 95-mph fastball over the left-field wall for a three-run homer.

“I haven’t had a whole lot of good baseball moments lately,” said Hart, who missed all of last season while recovering from surgeries on both knees.

“I’ve just been trying to find a rhythm and get something going. It was nice to do that on opening night (at home) for the crowd. At least they know when it’s going good, it’s going good for me.”

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Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. Skysport says:

    For a little while it looked like the Seahawks were going to upstage the Mariners – again. But then the M’s put on their brand new whoopin’ hats and stole the show.

  2. Might be in for an exciting season, M’s fans!

  3. This can be a pretty good team if Hart can provide the kind of RH power he’s capable of. I expect him to be inconsistent early in the year. Hopefully he can get on a roll by the all-star break.

  4. M’s are winning and no wabubba. I’m shocked. Nothing to be a pompous, Debbie Downer about I guess?

  5. Yep, Paxton was incredibly inconsistent with his 2.25 ERA and 0.67 WHIP. Give me one number that Elias has that’s better than Paxton. I’m glad Elias has looked good in 2 starts. I’m more interested in the M’s playing well than winning a pissing contest with you. I never even said Elias would be bad. I simply said I didn’t like counting on someone that had never pitched above AA. And it’s only 2 starts. Both have a long way to go. You constantly raise the bar on making yourself look like a buffoon.

    I have been saying for a LONG TIME that Miller should start at SS over Franklin. Clean the crap out of your ears. And he currently has a .633 OPS. Not sure how that is doing well. I guess it is when you’re more interested in being a clown than being realistic. It’s just sad at this point.

  6. wabubba67 says:

    Btw, here’s a number where Elias is better than Paxton:

    Stints on the disabled list: Paxton 1, Elias 0

  7. And Paxton had a 1.50 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in his four starts in 2013. So he actually has 6 big league starts.

  8. And it’s not simply Paxton’s numbers that I like. His number weren’t spectacular at Tacoma last year. The kid has great stuff and produces some very tough angles for hitters. Consistency and health have been his issues. I think he will be a very good pitcher if he remains relatively healthy. It’s hardly just him too. Pitchers are dropping like flies currently.

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